Listed: Top 5 Rhône dry whites by Quality score
Often overlooked in favour of Burgundy’s top whites, the Rhône’s counterparts should not be forgotten, particularly if you’re looking for a rich style at a more reasonable price. Whilst the Rhône’s top five dry whites for Quality can’t match the scores of Burgundy’s top chardonnays (930 vs 977), they are nearly 30 times cheaper on average (£126 vs £3564). Within the Rhône, in the battle of North vs South it is the former that comes out on top, with four expressions of Hermitage featuring in the top five.
Leading the way is Chapoutier’s Ermitage Blanc L’Ermite (966). By far the most expensive of the five, it is particularly favoured by Bettane+Desseauve, the French duo awarding it an outstanding average score of 19/20. It is also the longest-lived of the group, alongside Domaine Chave’s Hermitage Blanc, with an average drinking window of 12 years. Despite its outstanding Quality score, it experiences the lowest overall Wine Lister score of the group (799), its Brand and Economics scores failing to keep pace (659 and 666 respectively).
In contrast to Chapoutier’s L’Ermite, Domaine Chave’s Hermitage backs up its excellent Quality score with the best Brand and Economics scores of any Rhône white (930 and 873), propelling it to first place in terms of overall Wine Lister score (927). It is Vinous’ favourite of the five, with an average score of 95/100, helped by a score of 97-99 for the 2015, Josh Reynolds stating that it shows “a remarkable interplay of depth, power and energy that I only occasionally encounter with the very best white Burgundies”.
Interrupting Hermitage’s hegemony is Beaucastel’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes (917). Proving that the appellation’s best whites can compete with their red counterparts, it outperforms Beaucastel’s straight Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Quality category (917 vs 876). However it can’t quite beat the domaine’s flagship Hommage à Jacques Perrin (962), but at under a third of the price (£81 vs £255) it does look better value.